How To Spot A Dirty Hotel Room, Before It's Too Late

After a long drive, or a long flight, the last thing you need is a dirty hotel room. Changing rooms after you unpack is inconvenient,to say the least, and doesn't mean you'll get a better or cleaner room. The allergens in your hotel room will dictate how restful and healthy your stay will be. Had there been a cat in the room, how bad are the levels of dust mite allergens, what kind of detergents or bleaches does the hotel use to launder the bedding and towels. Here are some tips which have worked well for me:

-If you're checking into a hotel/motel, especially later in the day or at night, and the desk clerk looks messy or tired, this is your first clue. To me it means the management doesn't have high standards or doesn't care about it's employees. If employees are not up to par, do you think the room will be?

- Before actually registering , check out the elevator. Is it clean, does it work well. If management can't keep an elevator in good condition, the rooms can't be much better.

- Check out the nearest ice machine, is it clean, does it have ice and is there a smell coming from the machine.

- If there is a public bathroom near the front desk and it's dirty, your room can't be much better.

 Okay, so now you're satisfied with any of these tips, so you register. You arrive at your room, but before you unpack anything, inspect the bathroom and the bed.

 Bathroom cleanliness tips: Just because it looks clean, does not mean it is clean. Obviously you can't send bacterial cultures out to a lab for analysis, but you can do a few things to mitigate the filth factor.

- If there are actual "glass" drinking glasses in the room, inspect  them. If they smell of detergent or have obvious streaks, don't use them. Personally, i won't use any glasses in a hotel room unless they are pre sealed disposables.

- This is quite obvious, check for hairs and residues on the floor next to the toilet and in the sinks and tubs/shower stalls.

- Pull down a corner or two of the bedspread and blankets, right down to the mattress. Inspect the mattress, especially at the seams, looking for signs of bedbugs. You are looking for either the actual bedbugs, which are usually large enough to see, or, any small smears of dark brown stains, which would be the fecal excretions of the bedbugs .Do the same for the headboard and area at the head of the bed near the baseboards and carpet. Needless to say, if you find ANY evidence of bedbugs, leave immediately. I have a few friends who thought I was paranoid about bedbugs, until they were bitten. Since DDT was outlawed, bedbugs have become epidemic in the hospitality industry. Bedbugs don't carry or pass on diseases, but seriously, does that really matter? By the way, bedbugs are not confined to " cheap " hotels. Even the ritziest establishments experience bedbug infestation at one time or another.

-Be careful where you place your luggage. Bedbugs are excellent travelers so put your luggage on a metal luggage rack or hard surface, not on the bed or sofa.  If you are bitten, red welts are the evidence, wash everything in HOT water , cold will not kill the eggs or all bedbugs.

-Did you know, 1 in 5 children wet the bed, 1 in 3 adults are allergic to dust mites ( actually the allergy is to a protein in dust mite feces ), 1 in 13 adults suffers from incontinence.  Inspect the sheets for hairs and stains and, yes, smell them and the pillows. Your nose will tell you if they have been changed. Don't be naive, if you think every chambermaid in every hotel changes every bed, every time.... 

 Well, now you are satisfied with the room, here are some simple " must do's " 

-Strip off the bedspread and put it away. Hotel bedspreads are not cleaned very often and are universally filthy.

- Wipe down the TV remote with a damp cloth or antibacterial wipe or even a diaper wipe. Studies have shown the remote to be the filthiest thing in a hotel room.

-Don't let your kids, or yourself sit on any surface naked,

 Let's face it, nobody dies from hotel room exposure. but, ever wonder why you got that cold when you went on vacation or why little Johnny got the stomach bug while on vacation. You won't get an infection from that filthy bedspread unless you have an open wound or cut, but why take the chance. 

 Products like an Allersac travel sheet will help to mitigate the exposure to unclean bedding and allergens, a can of household disinfectant spray, and some anti bacterial wipes can be a great inexpensive investment to insure your peace of mind. 

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